Category Archives: Family

W^2 –moon, calm

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 18, 2022

sunset on the lake, waxing moon, calm. Lake Margrethe, Grayling, MI Saturday, May 14, 2022 8:59 PM EDT

This week for my W^2 post, the calm after the storm.

This past weekend I asked my wife I made a quick trip to the lake and back. Up late Friday afternoon and home late Sunday night.

We had chores to do, and I was looking for a bit of calm as the school year winds (and grinds) to a finish. As in my previous post, W^2 – beauty and the beast, weather intervened. The skies opened and a thunderstorm rolled across the lake bringing hail and almost an inch and half of rain in about thirty minutes.

Once the storm passes, the skies cleared and there was calm. Calm enough to sit at the end of the dock and admire the sunset or flip the other way and admire the moon rise.

It was an excellent weekend, and I got a taste of summer, early. We also got the calm we needed and craved.

It is Wednesday, the middle of the week and there are as I sit and type ten more days of school this year and then it is summer. Today and I going to try and convince my 6th graders that there is a lot of space in the atmosphere for air particles (aka atoms and molecules) to move and I hope it provides the calm they need to weather the final days of the year. I know it is going to be going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day and trying to compress learning just like air particles can be compressed.

What brings you a little calm these days?

Be Curious, not Judgmental

It is the Saturday morning before Easter and I am up early, before anyone else. Normally, I’d be at Loaves and Fishes volunteering helping families in need of food get the food they need, but Loaves and Fishes is closed for the holiday. I did work Thursday after school as it was the last day that families could get food this week and it was terribly busy.

trees along the path, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, Wheaton, IL. April 10, 2022 5:29 PM

Yesterday I was reading my devotional, The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy. I was reading the entry for July 21st. I know yesterday was April 15th, but I started reading the journal a couple of years ago and I started almost two years ago on April 25, 2020, by starting with the January 1st entry. The intent was to read each day and finish a year later on April 24, 2021, with the December 31st entry, but that didn’t happen. Things happen and life gets in the way of good intentions. But each time I have read an entry; I have felt as though the passage is speaking directly to me. Yesterday’s title was “Discernment instead of Judgement.” As I read the entry, I reflected on its meaning, and I immediately thought of the TV comedy series Ted Lasso. Last week, a colleague and I had been talking about teaching science and the topic of Ted Lasso wisdom had come up. He mentioned a Ted Lasso quote, “Be Curious, not judgmental,” and we chuckled because I encourage my students to be curious and full of wonder in science. Continue reading Be Curious, not Judgmental

Friday and wonder

It is Friday of spring break. Our last full day on break, tomorrow morning we’ll pack up, clean up, and begin the journey home. It had to end; all, good and bad, things do. It is the nature of things.

My wife and I are enjoying our break in the Florida Keys with another couple we know. He was a childhood friend of my wife, and he was in our wedding 30 years ago. We have lot in common and we’ve enjoyed our time together on vacation away from the cares and responsibilities of adulthood. We’ve had an enjoyable time together; we’ve had excellent food along with the time to enjoy it, adventure, and we have relaxed along the beach listening to the rhythm of the surf and the breeze rustle through the palm trees. It’s been fun, but tomorrow we are back to our life and how we live it. And that is good.

last night’s dinner, a grilled fish sandwich, and the last photo I took in March.

There has been a little bit of ‘normal life’ from me here on vacation, there’s been the morning devotion time, a walk to move purposefully, coffee to begin each day, and a newfound challenge the Wordle.

I’ll admit I was not an early adopter of the challenge, but I’ve become fond of it. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl at Wordle @ New York Times. Each day, the NY Times offers a new five-letter as a challenge, and you have six tries to get the word. This morning I tried a new starter word – STARS. I have used all sorts of starter words among them are ADIEU, MEATY, TEASE, and MOUSY. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. My blogger friend Mary at Wilderness of Words was a persistent user until she reached fifty completed puzzles, then she stopped. I wonder if she misses the daily challenge. I’ll admit I miss her daily encouragement and gentle reminder to stretch my mind, even just a little.

This morning, I correctly guessed the Wordle in three guesses or words. I consider this a fluke I have only accomplished this 6/29 times and I usually take five and sometimes six guesses to get it right. I don’t want to give today’s word away, but STARS came back with the confirmation I had two letters correct and one, the letter S was the first word in the day’s Wordle. My next guess, inspired by the direction I was facing, was a guess to check for additional vowels, ‘A’ was a miss and there were four remaining possibilities – ‘E-I-O-U.’ The last, and correct, guess was inspired by our dogs and how I miss them.

Tomorrow it’s back to life and I am ready for it.

Yesterday, I finished my fifth book of the year, The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom. I am a little ahead in this year’s reading challenge. Each year I set a goal to read twelve books. I should read more, but I haven’t the past few years. Regardless, The Stranger in the Lifeboat tells the story of a group of people who are shipwrecked and find themselves adrift when one announces he is the Lord, and He is there to save them if only all the occupants of the life raft can accept Him as the Lord.

the night sky featuring Orion, Tuesday, March 28, 2022

Continue reading Friday and wonder

W^2 – shell

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 2, 2022

a shell and the Gulf of Mexico – Galveston, Texas. Monday, February 28, 2022 5:07 PM

This week for my W^2 post, I have a shell from Gulf coast of Texas. My brother and his wife and I took a quick trip to Galveston, Texas while I was visiting this past weekend. The trip quick three days and its purpose was visiting an aunt in hospice, visiting and some business with my stepmother, and remembering my mom, who left us on this day three years ago.

I don’t know the name of the shell or the shellfish that once called this shell home, but I call Texas home even though I have lived most of my life in northern Illinois, Texas is home and always will be.

I have been out of my classroom for the past two days, but I have had a skilled educator and friend in my room with my kiddos. I am sure they have all sorts of questions and are even fuller of wonder than they were on Friday. But that’s the way life should be.

Today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. And also, press publish. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking for wonder and sometimes finding it.

What has filled you with a sense of wonder recently? (yes, I know this is a reprise, but how can you go wrong with this one?)

W^2 – crossing

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Cairo Bridge, I-57 N, crossing the mighty Mississippi River, approaching the Missouri-Illinois state line, December 31, 2021, 12:26 PM

I spent the entire week, last week,  in northern Mississippi with my brother and his wife sorting through my stepmother’s home and her belongings. It was a tough week.

I drove south over the Cairo Bridge on Sunday, the day after Christmas, and returned New Year’s Eve. Its over 600 miles to her home. The Cairo Bridge marks 382 of those miles from my home in northern Illinois. The trip took through me five states – Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. I crossed the mighty Mississippi River four times on my trip, and I had a lot to think about on the way south and even more on the return.

The river keeps moving and I suppose that is good advice.

Today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, crossing bridges all the time.

What was the last BIG bridge you crossed?

W^2 – Reading FC

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Cleaning out an attic and what do I find? A Reading FC mug. Oxford, MS December 3, 2021, 5:59 PM

It’s been almost two years since my stepmother has lived in her home in Oxford, Mississippi and we are (finally) beginning the process of emptying the home, saving the special things, discarding those things that aren’t and finding new homes for many of the things we can’t keep. It’s a process and there’s a lot to go through, but we are making headway.

She and my dad lived in Reading, England for several years in the late 70s and early 80s. I remember visiting several times and spending Christmas and New Year of 1978 with them. There are lots of memories in this cup.

Like so many things in life, there more to this story. A connection from the late 70s to the present day and possibly well into the future. It’s gonna be a great day, but first I must press publish and get to school. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, digging up the past and illuminating the present.

What is something that you pulled out that brought back a strong memory? Please share.

W^2 – path

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Fern, the woods, and the fall sun, Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve Oakbrook, IL October 16, 2021, 2:06 PM

It was a beautiful fall afternoon with temperatures in the upper 50s (14-15C) and a clear blue sky. Fern and I were giving a new forest preserve a try. It was an excellent choice. Much of the path was along a creek with woods to the east. We came across a momma white-tailed deer and her three fawns crossing the path in front of us moving from the creek side into the woods. It was an excellent walk in the fall sun. We also ran into a Brittany puppy on our walk and it brought back memories of sharp teeth and house training. Make the Days Count, one day at a time, never knowing what will cross my path.

What has crossed your path lately?

Tommy – 11 weeks old, Fern – 2 and one half years old meet in the woods along a limestone path Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve Oakbrook, IL October 16, 2021, 2:21 PM

 

another complete summer

Summer is OFFICIALLY complete.

We’re at the lake for the Labor Day weekend. W and I drove up Friday night after school, B drove up Wednesday with the dogs stopping in Lansing along the way, and O arrived Friday after classes. All here, second year in a row.

Yesterday we all worked hard to get the boats, the lifts, and the docks out of the water. We finished our chores just as the rain began early in the evening.

O cooked dinner and we gathered at the table before calling it a day. I was the first to hit the rack, admitting I was too tired for a game at the table.

This morning when I woke, the clouds were gone, and the weather had changed, and it was sunny, cool, and breezy. A perfect day to wrap up our summer before returning home early Monday morning.

O’s cooking breakfast and it smells wonderful here and it’s almost ready.  It’s gonna be a great day I know it and I can feel it. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, coming together and working together to move from one season to the next.

How was your summer?

W^2 – empty nest

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Michigan State College marker, date unknow. East Lansing, MI August 28, 2021 6:10 PM

Saturday morning, we loaded our car and took off to take our youngest daughter off to college. It was a hot day and we got everything into her un-air-conditioned dorm room. We helped her unpack and put things away and then drove home. The drive home seemed so much longer than the drive there. Same distance, different circumstances, lighter load and for the first time in twenty-three and half years we are on our own again. Life begins anew. I remember my first week or so away from home and off to college, but I never thought how hard it was on my mom. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, beginning a new journey all over again.

Do you remember your first day away home?

today was O’s first day of class and I sent her greetings from my class! (notice my Alma mater on my mask – Texas A&M University) – Naperville, IL September 1, 2021 10:15 AM

Summer Days: Week 8

It’s Day 57 and I have a dozen days remaining in my summer break. I slept late this morning. Sleeping late is a luxury of summer or anytime when the following day comes without a schedule or place to be early in the morning. Sleeping late is a direct consequence of living without a schedule or maybe staying up late to watch the stars shine brightly in the summer sky, or return home from a family.

“Summer was our best season – everything good to eat, a thousand colors in a parched landscape.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Last night all three of us went to a concert by the band Chicago. B and I listened to them in our youth and the songs were part of the soundtracks of us growing up. O got a glimpse of the music her parents listened to as they figured out how to be adults. It was a fun concert, and the band finished their performance with one of their best-known songs, “25 or 6 to 4”, for their encore.

It was a late night and we got home well past midnight.

Continue reading Summer Days: Week 8